French consumer spending on manufactured goods unexpectedly fell for a second month in April as shoppers scaled back purchases of cars and clothes.
Such spending, which accounts for about 15 percent of the economy, dropped 0.8 percent, after a revised decline of 1 percent in March, Insee, the Paris-based national statistics office, said today. Economists expected a 0.5 percent increase, the median of 22 estimates in a Bloomberg survey showed. Spending rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier. Inflation near the fastest in 12 years has pushed consumers' confidence to a record low, slowed spending growth, and hurt President Nicolas Sarkozy's popularity. Households' purchasing power may decrease further in coming months as economic expansion loses momentum.
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